An open letter to all athletes: Please eat your carbs.

Dear Athletes,

I bet you've been given a lot of unsolicited advice on how to be you.

How to be a better athlete.

How to look like an athlete.

How to perform like an athlete.

How to eat as an athlete.

Who knew eating as an athlete could be so complicated. Potentially stressful. And controversial. Being torn between "looking the part" and simply eating after practice because your famished shouldn't carry the pressure it does.

From my experience working with athletes and being an athlete, I've heard a lot of "oh, I just don't eat carbs. They're not healthy" or "I eat huge meals of protein!" I'm not here judge, or tell you how you're eating is *wrong*. I'm here as a sports healthcare professional. And all I want to say is, please, eat your carbs.

Here's the science behind my plea.

Your brain needs carbs.

Carbohydrates are the fuel your brain runs on. All those split-second decisions you make on the field, the dives and tackles, those PR's you make from that last mental push....are all thanks to glucose, the energy source for you brain. Glucose can be derived from other food sources and macronutrients, but is most readily available from straight carbohydrate sources. Our brains are glucose-hogs. The amount of glucose our brains require vastly outweighs the amount our musculoskeletal system needs. Just while in a resting state, your brain utilizes 60% of your body's available glucose.

Looking for more?

Have you ever noticed your energy levels increase after a meal? Or you can magically think clearer after eating? This is because you've resupplied your body (and your brain) with glucose and it's operating at full capacity again.